"As Fences Cut Off Migration, Hoofed Species Decline"

"One of the most spectacular events in nature -- mass migrations by large, hoofed, grass-eating animals -- is endangered. That's what scientists conclude after completing what they say is the first comprehensive look at this phenomenon.

Grant Harris from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a team of scientists compiled a record of all the great migrations in the historical record. These are 'charismatic megafauna,' says Harris: wildebeests and oryxes in Africa, caribous in North America, the antelopelike chiru in Asia. They move by the thousands over hundreds of miles of territory, seeking out fresh grass or other forage or water. ...

[Of the] 24 big migrations around the world, says Harris, writing in the journal Endangered Species Research this month, 'we've lost six species that do not migrate in large masses, in long distances, anymore.'

The remaining 18 large migrations are endangered, says biologist Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who collaborated on the study."

Christopher Joyce reports for All Things Considered, June 9, 2009.

Thursday, June 11, 2009